Release Date: Nov 11, 2014
Record label: Numero
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Slowcore
This beautiful, definitive package makes up the entirety of the Dallas Bedhead’s studio career. As well as the gorgeous monochrome sleeve art, there’s also a comprehensive book that details the band’s career in words – and plenty of additional pictures, flyers and posters. WhatFunLifeWas, Bedhead’s debut, is slinkily, cerebrally close to a blend of shoegaze, Velvet Underground outtakes and proto-math-rock, veering between the delicately atmospheric and the epic; Bedside Table’s crescendo is a good example of the dynamic sensibility of the group, for one.
Bedhead only existed for seven years, released just three albums and it could be argued that their impact on music since the band split in 1998 has been minimal at best…yet this Texan five-piece are one of the best bands you’ll ever hear. No-one makes bands like Bedhead anymore, and that is a crying shame. Full disclosure: I love Bedhead unreservedly and have done since I heard the band’s third and final album, Transaction de Novo – a record that doesn’t quite tell the whole story of Matt and Bubba Kadane’s incredible band.
Of the various subgenres that rose up out of the tangled cross-currents of early indie rock, '90s slowcore was one of the more overlooked, due in part to the unexcitable nature of the music itself. Marked by drowsy, guitar-based tunes stretched into turtle-paced tempos and stripped-down arrangements, slowcore was a lazy cousin to shoegaze’s textural experimentation and also drew from the icy distance and general emotional exhaustion of goth staples like Joy Division or Bauhaus. Rather than relying on tension and outbursts, slowcore bands like Low and Codeine found their catharsis in the slow-burning din of their minimal, protracted compositions.
For all the glowing reviews Bedhead received in their heyday, the Dallas slowcore band are almost exclusively left out of the "great indie rock of the '90s" conversation. Thanks to reissue label Numero Group (who have recently released similar collections for Codeine and Unwound), a new generation of record collectors get to discover the cult of Bedhead. Released as a sprawling 45-track box set, Bedhead 1992-1998 contains all three of the band's LPs alongside 17 non-album tracks and a gorgeous 40-page booklet.
Most of the rock subgenres we reference today were coined between the 1980s and '90s. If you were living in the English-speaking world, rap aside, music played with guitars was still more or less the main game in town during this era, so "rock" in the broadest sense had no choice but to mutate: noise-rock, post-punk, dream-pop. In lieu of entirely new tools—no computers yet—independent rock got more specific and it got weirder, splintering in any number of different directions.
"Slowcore" might have been the easy tag to pin on the Dallas, Texas band Bedhead, but this comprehensive overview amply illustrates the beauty created in recordings that reveal considerably more than a mere inclination not to break a sweat. The four CDs (or five LPs) of 1992-1998 collect Bedhead's three albums and all their singles and EPs, and a 40-page book offers an in-depth study of the music and a thorough career overview. .
Bedhead 1992-1998 (Numero Group) Six short years Bedhead recorded, 1992-1998, which strikes as incongruent considering the Dallas quintet's influence, particularly in Texas as a cornerstone of Austin's Trance Syndicate label. Unassuming simplicity centers Matt and Bubba Kadane's musical precision and minimalism, whose intimacy envelopes a post-rock shoegazing blur of guitars. Remastering the studio catalog as both a 4-CD and 5-LP box, Bedhead 1992-1998 reissues their three studio albums faithful to the originals, with vocals buried and almost indistinguishable as texture guides the sound.